Defense Ministry Planning to Cut Apartment Perks ({{commentsTotal}})

Apartment houses in Tallinn
Apartment houses in Tallinn Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Defense Minister Sven Mikser said a cheap rental apartment program for soldiers will be closed by 2020, as there are not enough to go around and some are abusing the perk.

One officer, who chose to remain unnamed, said there is little motivation left in working for the Defense Forces as the salary is not enough to rent an apartment in Tallinn, saying the average soldier earns 800 euros after tax, around the national average.

Ingrid Mühling, a spokesman for the Headquarters of the Defense Forces, told Eesti Ekspress today that there are only enough apartments for 15 percent of soldiers, and many who do have them are renting the apartments out to third parties to gain extra income.

In April, 562 military tenants, occupying Defense Forces' apartments, received a notice of cancellation of their rental contracts, with 372 agreeing to stricter terms. So far 42 have vacated their apartments.

Mikser said the recent move to stricter terms, which for example, do not allow soldiers or their family members to own or rent other properties near the city where the military apartment is located, is just one step, and by 2020 the apartments will only be used for those Defense Forces' members who are serving in units far from their home town.